“A Change in Direction is the theme of Colliers International’s midsummer retail report, which highlights a number of significant shifts in the challenging retail market. Changes are necessary for retailers to remain relevant, and this report sets out an informative analysis of trends seen across the retail sector.

Environmental and ethical influences are weighing heavily on the behaviours of consumers, and in turn, are driving retailers to re-think their offering. Our attitudes towards plastic waste and other single-use and “fast” products have changed dramatically over the last few years. As a consequence, shoppers are willing to spend more time and money to buy eco-friendly and ethically-sourced products and groceries. Retailers, food outlets and landlords are responding, with some committing to reducing their carbon emissions and plastic waste, and supporting initiatives for social good in centres and high streets.

The landscape of online retailing is also changing. The emphasis is no longer on online stores directly competing with physical stores, but rather towards one supporting the other. For instance, some large national retailers have chosen to keep loss-making stores open simply to meet the demands of click-and-collect and returns.

Developments in the analytics of data have also led retailers and landlords to begin to better understand how physical stores contribute to brands’ performance. As a notable example, it has been seen that as much as half of some brands’ online sales take place within five miles of stores.

The “re-imagining” of retail is of course both a challenge and opportunity for centres and high streets, particularly those looking to re-purpose vacant department stores in key locations.